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AOA Member Satisfaction Survey 2019

Below is my response to the AOA Member Satisfaction Survey 2019 that I received on February 7, 2019.  Have you done your part to respond?

I believe AOA should be a two prong organization comprised of 1) alpaca as livestock and 2) alpaca fiber as the end product.  

The first prong, alpaca as livestock, has been the primary focus of AOA since the US imported its first alpacas.  AOA does two things very well in defining and promoting this prong.  First, it maintains a registry database and EPD program.  Second, it keeps a show system.  What I mean by this is that AOA has an excellent system in place that initiates, monitors, and maintains these two aspects of our industry.  That does not assume that the particulars of these two categories are without room for improvement and expansion, but rather that the system works for its planned intention.  

There is work to be done within this prong, eg-development of an alpaca census system, new alignment with other traditional livestock business models, expanded show categories to name a few.

But AOA should begin to put more emphasis on the second prong of the organization.  BRAND RECOGNITION.  

I am inundated every day with alpaca caricatures.   Major department stores and specialty boutiques promote alpaca parody and mimicry.  We even see our national organization selling ACRYLIC alpaca wear.  [GASP]

I never see promotions for alpaca end product as a BRAND.  Alpaca textiles are in dire need of a Branding & Marketing Campaign.  AOA’s role in such a project might be better suited to hiring and overseeing a firm to advise and implement such a plan. 

I believe AOA needs to play either a primary or supportive role in branding alpaca textiles and aligning with other natural fibers and opposing synthetic fibers.  And I think this prong is not only vital to our survival and growth within our industry, but it is our top priority in moving forward our US Alpaca Textile and Livestock Industry.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this survey.

Best Regards

Sarah Donahoe, owner
Long Acres Alpaca Farm